Anahi Soto, a 16-year-old junior at Proviso East High School, was recently selected to perform onstage at the CIBC Theatre in Chicago, moments before it was overtaken by the cast of the popular musical Hamilton.
Soho won a Proviso High Schools District 209-wide competition in order to earn the honor and was the only student the night of the performance who was selected to read her work before a sold-out performance of the popular play.
Soto’s poem was rather fitting, considering the context (Hamilton is a Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning play that is performed by a largely minority cast in song and rap, and is about American Founding Father Alexander Hamilton).
“I performed a poem that I wrote that spoke about the beginning to the Bill of Rights, and what it means to have such freedoms,” Soto said. “I am very thankful to have been given the opportunity to represent my school, Proviso East, and the Maywood community in front of a full house and inside such a prestigious theater.”
Soto credited some Proviso East faculty and administration members for organizing the event.
“My APUSH teacher Mr. Kayser, and librarian, Ms. Shabana, did an amazing job in orchestrating this event,” she said. “Even Dr. Patrick Hardy, the school principal, accompanied us. His charm made it a very comfortable environment for everyone to be themselves.”
Soto said that the Hamilton cast members were “very helpful, friendly and approachable.”
“I had the opportunity to speak with the cast, including the actress who played Eliza Hamilton,” she said. “She helped me to relax just as my turn was coming up, and gave me some advice on how to perform. This was an experience that I will cherish forever.”